Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collaborate to Open at Children’s Museum of Manhattan




Wish. Installation view of a previous iteration of ‘Wish’, a collaborative artwork in which community members share prayers, wishes, and expressions of gratitude, by Aya Rodriguez-Izumi. Credit: Photo by Alexander Bustamante

 This June, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) opens the next edition of its acclaimed visual art exhibition series designed to cultivate critical early learning skills through meaningful engagement with contemporary art and artists. Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collaborate introduces children to powerful tools of self-expression and new ways of seeing everyday spaces with dynamic interactive art installations and commissions, including a surrealist inspired house by Isidro Blasco that children can explore, a wishing tree by Aya Rodriguez-Izumi that visitors can add to, and a multi-story installation designed by BARarchitekten in which art can be both viewed and made. Celebrating art as a vehicle for connection—particularly after two years of isolation and social distancing—the multimedia exhibition explores ideas of community, home, and self. 

 Opening June 18, 2022, Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collaborate is accompanied by daily art-making programs by resident artists, including Ebony Bolt, Francisco Donoso, Borinquen Gallo, Armita Raafat and Catalina Schliebener, among others, who are creating site-specific installations that involve the CMOM community and that will evolve over time as visitors add to the work. Within the context of the exhibition, these programs help CMOM’s youngest learners further develop physical, social and emotional skills alongside their peers and caregivers. 

Aya Rodriguez-Izumi. Harlem-based, Cuban/Puerto Rican/Japanese artist, Aya Rodriguez-Izumi (b. 1986). Credit: Photo by Alexander Bustamante

“Reflecting our dynamic role in New York City’s cultural and educational ecosystem, CMOM has continued to expand our researched-backed programs and exhibitions to focus on key issues that children are facing today, with a goal of mitigating the social-emotional impact and learning loss suffered by children of all backgrounds during the pandemic,” said Chief Program Officer Leslie Bushara. “CMOM’s visual art exhibitions provide an important platform for our youngest New Yorkers to engage in issues of the day through art and artmaking. Our newest edition of Inside Art puts the lessons of the past two years into action, emphasizing the importance of personal connections among both people and places and of building healthy, creative communities together.” 

“Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collaborate offers visitors unrestricted access to artworks that are beautiful, complex, and challenging; to working artists with unique styles and stories; and to opportunities to experiment with diverse materials and methods,” said David Rios, CMOM’s Director of Public Programs and Curator of Contemporary Art. “By uniting these experiences in a physically immersive environment, free from ‘distancing tape’ and other traditional barriers, we strive to equip children with a hands-on understanding of creative placemaking and empower their own artistic voices as tools of enduring social change.” 

The new commissioned works on view include:

  • City Canvas, a two-story, multiroom installation designed by German architecture firm BARarchitekten that will evolve during the exhibition’s run with new works by artists and visitors alike. Drawing inspiration from the legacy of mix-use community buildings, City Canvas invites children to explore its various rooms, where they encounter murals, sculptural works, and paintings by artists Ebony Bolt, Francisco Donoso, Tijay Mohammed, and Armita Raafat and can leave their own mark on the installation’s exteriors, interiors, and passageways. City Canvas will also be home to CMOM’s new short-term residency installations, which invite visitors to learn about and contribute to the practices of working artists. A full list of artists in residence at CMOM is available here. 
  • Accumulation of Houses by New York-based, Spanish artist Isidro Blasco (b. 1962, Madrid), which invites visitors to crawl and balance through a surreal three-dimensional assemblage inspired by twisted house interiors. Combining practices of architecture, photography, and installation, the work meshes dream-like fragments of windows, door frames, and other familiar forms to encourage explorations of perception and spatial memory. 
  • Wish by Harlem-based, Cuban/Puerto Rican/Japanese artist Aya Rodriguez-Izumi (b. 1986, Okinawa), an ongoing collaborative artwork based on the Japanese tradition of the Ema, in which community members share prayers, wishes, and expressions of gratitude. At CMOM, visitors are invited to sit by a calming pink floor-to-ceiling arboreal sculpture and record a wish, hope, or dream on wooden plaques that then are hung on a tree for others to read. With the addition of new wishes over the course of exhibition, the installation will continue to expand, forming a space of collective reflection and communication. 
Isidro Blasco. New York-based Spanish artist Isidro Blasco (b. 1962), Madrid. Credit: Courtesy of the artist

In addition, Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collaborate also features continuing presentations of contemporary works and commissions currently on view, including: Damien Davis’ massive tabletop mystery puzzle; Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez’s graffiti mural; Joiri Minaya’s colorful and interactive installation of spandex walls that visitors can stretch, meander and peak through; and Yeju & Chat’s hanging cylindrical sculptures that provide glimpses of mirrored reflections, rainbows, and light. 

Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collaborate is curated by David Rios, CMOM’s Director of Public Programs and Curator of Contemporary Art. The exhibition is supported by the Ford Foundation and, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. 

Daily Programs and Artmaking in Inside Art 

Opening Weekend: Saturday – Monday, June 18 – 20, 2022 ~ In honor of public launch of Inside Art: Create, Climb, and Collaborate and Pride Month, CMOM invites all visitor to a special opening weekend of artmaking and activities that celebrate identity, individuality and friendship. 

Rainbow Community Pride Flag ~ Honor the Christopher Street Day Liberation March and Pride month at the Children’s Museum by helping us create a gigantic Pride flag! All month we’ll be painting this rainbow masterpiece and filling it with unique colorful objects! 

Community Bracelets ~ What would it be like to design a bracelet for someone you don’t know? Create a unique bracelet and trade it with a new friend at the Museum. 

Installation Collaboration: Catalina Schliebener ~ Create and collaborate with the first of CMOM’s Artist-in-Residence Catalina Schliebener. Catalina is a Chilean-born artist working in collage, installation, and murals, and their art uses images from childhood to explore gender, class, and identity. 

City Canvas. Installation image of a previous iteration of City Canvas, which at CMOM will take the shape of a two-story, multiform installation, designed by German architecture firm BARarchitekten. Credit: Courtesy of BARarchitekten

Daily Programs: 

Each and every day at CMOM, children and their caretakers can get their hands dirty in guided artmaking sessions led by CMOM’s educators and artists in residence. 

Installation Collaboration ~ Create and collaborate together as you leave your mark on art installations featuring the work of CMOM’s Installation Artists-in-Residence. 

Maker Moments ~ Cut, paint, experiment, and tinker! Create complex works of art or explore unusual materials and new media. Make this moment yours. 

Art Safari ~ Look up, look down, look all around! Get inside art as we do some creative “close looking” and ask fun questions about the art in Inside Art: Create, Climb, Collaborate. 

CMOM Hours, Admissions, and Health & Safety Procedures 

CMOM is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with timed entry throughout the day. Visitors are encouraged to purchase timed-entry tickets online in advance. Admission is free for all members and $15 for non-members, and provides entry to all CMOM programs and exhibitions. 

Visitors ages 5 and above must show proof of full vaccination and CMOM continues to require mask wearing in the Museum for all visitors ages 2 and above. A detailed overview of CMOM’s health and safety protocols and what to expect during your visit, is available on the museum’s website. 

Accumulation of Houses. A model of ‘Accumulations of Houses’ by artist Isidro Blasco, which once complete, will invite visitors to crawl and balance through a surreal three-dimensional assemblage inspired by twisted houses. Credit: Courtesy of the artist

Reserve Tickets Here

About the Children’s Museum of Manhattan 

Established in 1973, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) is a vital destination and resource for New York City children and their families, dedicated to cultivating life-long learners across backgrounds and boroughs. A steward of early childhood education and development, CMOM offers imaginative and enriching exhibitions and programs that support, challenge, and inspire. Beyond the Museum walls, CMOM mounts outreach programs in 60 sites across the city, equips colleagues via professional development training programs, and shares its award-winning content through traveling exhibitions and online offerings. To meet growing public demand and ensure that this child-centered, interactive resource is available for future generations, the Museum is planning a forthcoming move to an expanded home at 361Central Park West, which will include state-of-the art exhibition and programmatic spaces. 

Children’s Museum of Manhattan is located in The Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd Street, NYC. Follow the Museum on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.